Though the fashion industry is largely dominated by women, particularly as garment workers, gender inequality at the executive level is striking—just 14% of the top 50 global fashion brands are led by women.
At Made Trade, we’re proud to go against the status quo. We are a women-owned business committed to elevating other women-led brands working to create a more responsible, sustainable, and diverse fashion industry.
In celebration of the incredible women designers in the ethical fashion space, we rounded up 15 women-owned fashion brands available on Made Trade. From a zero-waste fashion label working with artisans in Cambodia to a jewelry brand crafting pieces right here in Portland, we are proud to carry a variety of women-owned fashion brands worth supporting.
1. Milo + Nicki
Milo + Nicki creates earth-friendly, cruelty-free clothing made from banana fabric. The conscious brand’s versatile and sustainably made collection on Made Trade is handwoven from banana tree waste—which is a byproduct of the banana harvesting process. This banana tree waste is woven into fabric by female weavers in India using a 100% carbon neutral process and is hand-dyed with plant-based indigo and madder root. These weavers work in safe conditions and receive fair wages for their craft.
Founded by Amy Fox and Cassie Ridgway, Altar is a Portland-based fashion label creating pieces from start to finish in the U.S. Their pieces are made-to-order and designed, patterned, cut, and sewn in Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon. Altar’s gorgeous garments are made from organic and naturally-dyed textiles, as well as deadstock fabrics and American-milled textiles when possible. Altar is also committed to sustainable job creation for women and ensures all employees earn living wages.
Values: Sustainable, Fair Trade, USA Made
Anchal Project was founded by sisters Colleen and Maggie Clines after a trip to Ajmer, India where they witnessed the extreme oppression women faced as commercial sex workers and recognized the economic opportunity the area’s rich textiles could provide.
Anchal Project is a women-run non-profit that employs 77 artisans and has trained over 150 women in Ajmer to date. The women artisans create stunning scarves, bags, bedding, and other textiles with natural materials such as organic cotton using the traditional technique of Kantha quilting. For a behind-the-scenes look at the ancient, sustainable process, check out our blog post on Anchal Project and Kantha quilting.
Values: Fair Trade, Heritage, Sustainable, Vegan
Rachel, the founder of Tonlé, was inspired to create the brand after she moved in Cambodia to research sustainable, fair trade textiles with funding from a Fulbright grant in 2008. Fast forward ten years later, Tonlé now employs 30 people in their Phnom Penh workshop who earn living wages and benefits—and have the opportunity to rise into management positions.
The ethical brand is also zero waste, using leftover fabric scraps from Cambodian garment factories, 100% recycled packaging, and handmade production practices that require no machinery or electricity. Tonlé even uses natural dyes and sources smaller pieces—like buttons—responsibly and locally.
Values: Fair Trade, Sustainable, Vegan
Darzah is an ethical fashion brand, part of the 501(c)3 non-profit Child’s Cup Full, that was created by Made Trade owner and founder, Cayley Pater, and the non-profit’s founder, Dr. Janette Habashi. The social enterprise specializes in tatreez embroidery—an ancient, traditional art from Palestine that has been passed down for generations.
Each of Darzah’s pieces are handcrafted from locally sourced leather and are hand-embroidered and handcrafted by refugee and low-income women artisans who earn fair wages for their work. The Fair Trade Federation member’s mission is to celebrate the art of tatreez embroidery and Palestine’s rich cultural heritage while providing economic opportunities for women artisans in Palestine’s West Bank.
6. Abby Alley
Abby Alley created her namesake fashion brand to celebrate the work of artisans in East Africa she had met through her travels to the region. The ethical brand works with skilled artisans in Kenya and Tanzania who handcraft beautiful bags from locally-sourced Masaai cow leather. Women artisans then hand-stitch traditional Masaai beadwork on the bags from their homes, enabling them to stay with their families as they earn a living from their crafts.
To ensure sustainable job opportunities for their artisans, Abby Alley works with artisan cooperatives that guarantee fair wages and safe working environments. The artisan makers earn three times the standard rates for the region—plus they earn provisions for healthcare and transportation.
Values: Fair Trade, Heritage
Audrey Weaves was created by Audrey Ducas, a fiber artist from Provence, France, now residing in Oregon. Her striking work has been inspired by ancient cultures, natural landscapes, and the textile skills and traditions of international artists she met from a decade of working across the globe.
Audrey’s contemporary jewelry and woven wall hangings help preserve the traditional art form of fiber weaving and are made with respect to the environment. The materials used in Audrey Weaves’ pieces are natural, ethically sourced, and often locally sourced as well.
Values: Sustainable, USA Made, Vegan
Marissa Heyl, the founder and Creative-in-Chief of Symbology, was inspired to start her ethical fashion brand after her research as a Mahatma Gandhi Fellow on the impact fair trade has on craftswomen in India. Today, Symbology partners with women from across India and developing countries as a means to preserve treasured ancient crafts and provide sustainable employment to artisans.
The women artisans Symbology partners with handcraft each piece and use traditional, generations-old techniques, such as block printing and tie-dye. Symbology’s pieces are also made using natural textiles and eco-friendly dyes.
Values: Fair Trade, Heritage, Vegan
LUNASOL is a Portland-based handmade jewelry brand founded by Lindsey Alonzo. Lindsey, inspired by international landscapes and the textures and colors of jewelry from regions across the globe, creates bold, worldly designs that are truly one-of-a-kind.
All of LUNASOL’s striking pieces are crafted using metal that was manufactured in Portland. And when possible, Lindsey uses recycled metal, melting down excess brass, silver, and gold scraps from production to be used in new collections.
Values: Sustainable, USA Made, Vegan
10. Days of August
Marie-Pier Labelle, the founder, designer, and maker of Days of August is dedicated to crafting sustainable, consciously made jewelry. All of Days of August’s pieces are crafted, filed, polished, sanded, and spot welded by hand with locally sourced reclaimed stainless steel.
The brand is also carbon neutral. The studio where all of Days of August’s jewelry is created is powered by solar panels and each year, Days of August plants more than 300 trees in rural South Australia to offset emissions.
Values: Fair Trade, Sustainable, Vegan
11. Thunderpants USA
Celeste Sipes, the founder of Thunderpants USA is passionate about creating uncompromising, comfortable, and high-quality underwear that women will love. Thunderpants’ undergarments are made responsibly and can be traced from start to finish. The underwear is made from Fair Trade certified organic cotton from New Zealand, and is then dyed and milled in Australia before being sent to a women-owned factory in Oregon, where the underwear is cut and sewn.
Thunderpants has both versatile solids and eye-catching prints in their collection of undergarments. The fun, unique designs for Thunderpants pieces are designed by local artists from Portland, Oregon.
Founded by Sandra Canselier, Coclico is an ethical shoe brand from Spain committed to conscious, local production. Coclico’s exceptionally crafted shoes are made by hand in a small, family-run factory in Mallorca, Spain by artisans earning living wages.
The slow-made shoes are made with materials sourced locally in Europe, including leather that meets strict standards for quality and sustainability, as well as sustainable materials like cork. Coclico is also carbon-neutral—the Spanish shoe brand purchases carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions each year.
Values: Fair Trade, Heritage, Sustainable
TOOCHE is an ethical, sustainable shoe brand from Latvia working with skilled Latvian artisan shoemakers who earn fair wages for their crafts. Tooche’s unique shoes are made using eco-conscious materials such as Piñatex, a vegan leather made from pineapple leaves discarded from the pineapple industry. The brand also uses sustainably harvested wool that is a byproduct from sheep farms, for their collections.
Values: Fair Trade, Sustainable
14. Mosaic by Ali
Mosiac by Ali is a women-run, women-owned ethical brand creating timeless, thoughtfully made clothing. The brand’s striking, elegant pieces are truly works of art—each and every bead is sewn by hand to create truly mesmerizing designs. And the slow, intricate process to make their garments ensures the pieces will last a lifetime.
Mosaic by Ali’s garments are designed in New Jersey and made in India, at one of the leading beading and embroidery houses in the country. The artisans crafting the garments earn living wages for their skills and techniques, which have been passed down for many generations.
Swahili Coast Design is a worker-owned, worker-managed, worker financed artisan co-op. The fair trade brand’s worker-owned cooperatives are located in Tanzania and Kenya, where co-op members earn fair wages, have safe working conditions and have opportunities for growth. Eighty percent of these co-op members are women, making Swahili Coast a majority women-owned organization.
Values: Fair Trade, Sustainable, Heritage